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Old 01-14-2009, 11:58 AM   #1
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If not an Airstream, what then?

I am currently seeking an AS but price is holding be back. I am convinced about the quality but..... My decision is to either decide to get what I want regardless of price or find the 2nd best travel trailer. Can anyone help with the notion of "If not an Airstream, what then?
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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We could not afford a new Airstream so we bought a gently used 30 year old one. Very happy with the decision. 2nd choice would be a Big Foot new or used.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:07 PM   #3
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You need to do some research , but buy a product that the manufacturer is still in business.For example Bigfoot is no longer in business.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:19 PM   #4
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

If I couldn't have an Airstream, I would look really seriously at the Star Stream by Starcraft. We have a close friend that has one that I have gotten a really close look at. I am impressed with the fit and finish. My friend has a 29' with a slideout.

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Old 01-14-2009, 01:09 PM   #5
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asnubie View Post
"If not an Airstream, what then?
Nothing.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:18 PM   #7
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The Airstream Sport might be an option...Lighter weight and less expensive...or you can find you a good previously loved Airstream right here in the forums classifieds!

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Old 01-14-2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asnubie View Post
I am currently seeking an AS but price is holding be back. I am convinced about the quality but..... My decision is to either decide to get what I want regardless of price or find the 2nd best travel trailer. Can anyone help with the notion of "If not an Airstream, what then?
Depending on your abilities/interests, you might want to look at the 'Award" trailer.

Originally a UK design, these were made in Canada for a number of years.

We owned one for the last ten years and loved it. It is quite a unique low profile light weight design and tows beautifully. Our 27 footer had a light weight of less than 4000 pounds..

The interior layout is very similar to the Airstream. These trailers were not cheap when sold new, and were aimed I believe at couples rather than families with children, interiors are pretty nice, though perhpas not quite up to AS levels.

One downfall with them - maybe the only one - is that they need constant attention to caulking. Any leaks can quickly cause expensive damage.

In the end, we sold ours as it was becoming a bit of a money pit and I had no room to work on it myself at home. I'm still not sure if it was a wise decision!

When we sold it we considered almost every option, trailer, motorhopme, you name it. In the end, it came down the airstream being the only option for us - hope I won't regret it! We bought ours used in September and hope to take our first long trip next month.

There is a Yahoo group dedicated to the Award trailers. Ownership has become almost a cult thing!

The company in Canada made them from the mid seventies to the mid nineties I believe. They then closed there doors - there are different stories as to why.

A few of the managers started up again in a much smaller way and they were building maybe 20 a year, mostly going to the US and selling for about $65,000Can until a couple of years ago when the Canadian dollar began to rise and sales to the US dwindled.

I think the company still exists - but just barely hanging on and only refurbishing trailers at present rather than building new. They were selling refurbished ones in the $20k range. They did have a website, AwardRV or something similar.

We sure enjoyed ours and it took us back and forth across teh USA many times!
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Road Ruler View Post
We could not afford a new Airstream so we bought a gently used 30 year old one. Very happy with the decision. 2nd choice would be a Big Foot new or used.
I have heard good things about Bigfoot, but unfortunately, I think they just closed their doors within the last few months.

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Old 01-14-2009, 02:05 PM   #10
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I would definitely consider an Avion. They are very similar to an Airstream in design and in some ways, are better than an Airstream. Yet they sell cheaper because they do not have the well known brand name.

Personally I like my Travelux, a Canadian made Avion copy. But that's because I am Canadian, and just enough of a patriot to get a kick out of owning the home grown product.

I don't recommend you look for a Travelux, they are pretty rare. But a good trailer too.

There were other high grade aluminum trailers made by Streamline and Silver Streak in California. They turn up sometimes in Texas. Both were very sturdy well made trailers. Their disadvantage is mainly that they are rather gloomy inside due to the small windows and dark wood paneling. Also the ones that turn up for sale are mostly from the mid 70s. You may not want a trailer that old.

Of course, parts are a problem for anything but an Airstream. Avion, I believe still has some parts available. The others went out of business years ago.

The situation is not too hopeless because most of the things that need replacement, such as appliances, brakes, etc. are standard units bought from outside suppliers and therefore, are not hard to get.

As I said I like my Travelux and would consider an Avion, Streamline or Silver Streak. Would also consider a Boles Aero or Holiday Rambler, both box style trailers but with aluminum frames not wooden frames. They don't shake to pieces and rot away like the typical wood framed box.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
I have heard good things about Bigfoot, but unfortunately, I think they just closed their doors within the last few months.

brian
Yes Brian they have shut down the plant but the ones on the lots could be a deal right now. Down side is there would be no factory warranty. Having a Bigfoot now could be a cool thing as there are no more to be built.

Re Awards... The manufacturer had a couple Awards at the Hamilton RV show last year. They were still alive and kickin at that point. The factory was/is ? down near Lake Erie. Dunnville maybe?

Side note... I think we may have met??? I was riding my bike through Aldershot last year and stopped to talk with a guy that had a 27' Award. He was kind enough to show me through the trailer. Maybe this was you??
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:19 PM   #12
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if not an Airstream- then nothin!

there are so many years, models, (fully restored, semi-restored) to choose from, there's always something to be found- just keep looking
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:41 PM   #13
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"If not an Airstream, what then?"

For most on this forum there is no answer to your question.

I am fixing up an old (1965) Airstream, you might think that would save some money,
but I'll still have $10K to $15K plus a lot of hours of work in it. I guess that is less
than a new one @ $30K to $40K.

If, not an Airstream, well I would probably motel it.
I am not trying to be a snob.
I just don't think I would get wooped up enough to put in the effort to do the
whole trailer thing unless I really liked the product.

I can honestly say I had this attitude before I got my Airstream, not after.
Something else to consider is resale value in your cost equation.
I figure I will be able to get my money back out when I sell,
that is not true with many other brands.
New ones (any brand, even Airstreams) will not hold value as well as older ones.

Just one persons perspective, there are lots of other perspectives.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asnubie View Post
I am currently seeking an AS but price is holding be back. I am convinced about the quality but..... My decision is to either decide to get what I want regardless of price or find the 2nd best travel trailer. Can anyone help with the notion of "If not an Airstream, what then?
A gently used Airstream! Ditto!

And there will never be a better opportunity. Consider this: 2 years ago Joe Keepupwiththejones bought a Harley, a Lexus, a vacation home in Florida and an Airstream... along with having granite countertops installed in his kitchen, a jetted exercise spa in his backyard and on and on. He has so much stuff he doesn't have time to use half of it. Business is slowing down and he's looking at getting laid off. What CAN he sell? Yep, the Harley and the Airstream will go first. And they'll go for whatever he can get even if it's 40 cents on the dollar.

Feel bad about being a vulture? Well I can't help you there, but the guy who is dying for $12K in cash will let his 4 year old Airstream go and be grateful if it gives him 4 months breathing space to try to hold on to his core possessions. I say, if you don't buy it, he might be forced to sell it to recycle $700 worth of aluminum. SAVE the AIRSTREAM!

Paula
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:36 PM   #15
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We had been looking for two years before we got our Airstream, we got lucky a purchased a new 2 year old Classic from a dealer which had had an accident moving it from a trade show. We got it for almost half the price. I also felt they were too expensive new, they still have minor flaws here and there from workmanship but on the whole they are far better built than any other trailer I have seen up close. We would have bought 70s or 80s unit but wanted a more recent 102" wide body. If it would have been just for me and my wife I would have prefered to buy a 60s Airstream and restored it.
Our previous trailer was a Fleetwood, nice looking but very cheap and the workmanship was very bad. Everything in the inside was installed crooked.
The only tip I can give you if you think their prices are too high, is to make sure you choose the right model and size for your present and future needs. It will outlast any fiberglass trailer but they still depreciate. Our Airstream is our first and last trailer, we chose the one we would keep until we would stop traveling.
Good luck.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asnubie View Post
Ito get what I want regardless of price or find the 2nd best travel trailer.
The following is just my opinion..

I love my airstream but I would not consider to be better than all others. (I know that is Forum Blasphemy) I definately consider it to be one of the most unique and noticable of brands currently in production. There are many "High Quality" brands on the market, and there are many that I would put in the SOB catagory. Airstreams are certainly unique and garner attention from passers-by no matter what the size, or age.

As others have stated Bigfoot made a quality rig. If I were currently in the market I would strongly consider one that was available. Yes there may be issues with parts and service, but It's not easy finding parts, or service for the 33 and 36 year old units I currently own. Granted the issue of new vs. vintage is the primary reason for this. I would use Bigfoot's demise as a price negoitation tool to offset some of the risk.

There are numerous older units in amazing condition that can be purchased for a reasonable sum. As with anything else though. it pays to do your homework and know what trouble areas to look for, and the right questions to ask. Grab one of the volunteer inspectors off the forum list and have them do a walk through/crawl around /kick the tires inspection with you.

Other mfgs. I would consider are Avion (Silver Version), Cedar Creek, Montana, and if I'm really dreaming big, a Prevost motorcoach.

Regardless of the path you choose...If you're happy with it...That's all that matters.

Keep us posted as to your travels,

Kevin
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:11 PM   #17
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We couldn't afford a new Airstream but were fortunate enough to trip across a used one at a local dealer that happened to fit our needs (if not desires) nicely. The dealer wanted a pretty price but sweetened the pot by tossing in a bunch of extras which cinched the deal.

If I knew a little more about Airstreams at the time and had been willing to fly anywhere in North America, I could have found a private sale used one and saved another 25%, but I wasn't prepared to do that.

At the time we went to several RV shows but saw NO alternatives that interested us in the least. Suffice it to say, we love our entry-level Safari to death.

That being said, even if we could afford it there's no way I'd pay new retail for one -- IMO they just aren't worth it.

(Just being honest)
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:22 PM   #18
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We have both a 78 Argosy and a 76 Airstream. The are still great trailers and we have had a lot of fun working on them. Perhaps you aren't into something that old; however, run a new axel under one, upgrade the frig and water heater, redo the plumbing if necessary, and you'll have a nice trailer that should last another 30 years. I see cute new trailers all the time, but I also see once cute fairly new trailers that did not hold up well at all. I also have a 1957 Santa Fe that is a favorite of mine, just no bathroom. I think this Santa Fe could be used as a storm shelter it is so well built. Had a flat roof that needed replaced, but other than that it's a great little trailer. You might try a 90's Airstream. Many of them are in pristine condition and good buys. Good luck, I hope you find what you love.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:29 PM   #19
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I'd have to try an Avion. Closest thing to an Airstream. I've had 2 Award trailers. Last one was a 1993 27'. Nice but not anything compared to the build I had on our 1993 29' Airstream Classic. The 29' is still one of my favorites.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:33 PM   #20
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If you really want a AS you should consider setting a price limit and then go on a hunt. Now is a great time to buy. If you go with SOB, it may not satisfiy you and then you end up selling the box trailer for less than what you paid because you still want a AS and may eventually find one in your price range. Been there done that. Im not looking back though, we love our AS and feel we got a fair deal. Camping is fun regardless of the trailer but there is a big difference between AS and other campers. Good Luck.
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